How to really defeat ISIL (ODT)
The literature I’ve reviewed suggests that the best way totally to defeat an insurgency is to change the social and economic situation that caused part of the public to support it. Trump’s mean-spirited denial of reconstruction aid to Raqqa is a much better predictor of an ISIL resurgence than a few roadside bombs.
And that should be the question. How to reconstruct Eastern Syria so as to forestall a return of radicalism that might become a base for terrorism against, e.g. Europe? A couple thousand US troops are not what will solve the problems one way or another, at this phase of the struggle.
Trump may o may not be doing the right thing to pull out the troops. He is definitely doing the wrong thing by declining to put resources into reconstruction.
The only redeeming aspect to Trump’s presidency is he brings us back to basics. And what could be more basic than the difference between democracy and dictatorship?
The choice could not be clearer. Democracy is about means, while dictatorship is about ends. Trump uses any means available to achieve his own ends.
We can preserve our democracy and force Trump out of office. Or we can continue to struggle against someone who strives to thwart democracy for his own benefit.
In the months ahead, that choice will be made, one way or the other.
POTUS BUCK PASSING AGAIN BUT BEFORE THE EVENT (ODT)
he chose to follow recommendations he thinks will fail so he can blame the entire debacle on his press shop. He was already blaming Bill Shine for not rounding up enough loyal surrogates; now those surrogates are responsible for the events of this week, which will mean, in Trump’s mind, that they’re responsible for the whole debacle, even though Trump didn’t have to take their advice and do the speech and the border visit. That was his choice.
Trump cannot fail — he can only be failed, according to Trump. And now he’s established that Shine et al. have failed him. They gave bad advice and he took it, knowing it was bad advice, just so he could blame them.
“Trump’s primetime stunt is a campaign dog-whistle to his base, not a legitimate policy speech about a genuine crisis. Shame on every TV station that airs it.”
Donald Trump, without evidence or facts, declares himself an expert on everything. His actions, statements (and misstatements) and policy decisions show he is a Lying Liar McLiarPants.
The War that Trump won against ISIS is over. I don’t think so. (ODT)
The move was also criticised by Israeli officials who warned that it would help Russia and arch-enemy Iran expand their influence in Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that Tel Aviv would escalate its fight against Iranian-allied forces in the country: “We will continue to act very aggressively against Iran’s efforts to entrench in Syria. We do not intend to reduce our efforts. We will intensify them, and I know that we do so with the full support and backing of the United States.”
Mr Trump’s former “fixer” gives his first interview since being sentenced to three years in prison
Mr Trump knew payments to silence a former Playboy model and adult film star were wrong, Cohen says
Federal law requires campaign contributions to be disclosed
US President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for a string of offences, including campaign law violations he said he committed at Trump’s direction.
Rex Tillerson sat down for a rare interview with Bob Schieffer of CBS News, and said what everybody already knows.
Donald Trump doesn’t have an inkling of how government works or how to be President and he doesn’t want to learn. Quotes from the interview:
Leaders of the Group of 20 agreed Saturday to fix the world trading system after difficult, all-night talks in the Argentine capital, but only 19 of them agreed to support the Paris accord on fighting climate change with the United States the lone holdout.
Greg Sheridan of Murdoch’s Australian keeps insisting ” don’t listen to what Trump says pay attention to what he does. He’s not that bad”. Good one Sheridan even broken clock is right twice a day.( ODT)
In a wide-ranging and sometimes discordant 20-minute interview with The Washington Post, Trump complained at length about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome “Jay” Powell, whom he nominated earlier this year. He argued that rising interest rates and other Fed policies were damaging the economy – as evidenced by GM’s announcement this week that it was laying off 15 per cent of its workforce – though he insisted that he is not worried about a recession.
“I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”
He added: “So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay. Not even a little bit. And I’m not blaming anybody, but I’m just telling you I think that the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing.”
discuss Trump’s top ten lies and his totalitarian obsession with controlling what his supporters in particular define as true or false — and why this is all matters.
In 2016, the conservative bastion of Orange County, California, voted for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since the Great Depression. Two years later, Democrats succeeded in capturing all of seven of its congressional seats ― a stunning feat in what has traditionally been a seat of Republican power that catapulted both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to the White House.
You can read the whole list. But here is a sampling of the topics Cummings and his Democratic colleagues have set their sights on:
White House security clearances (involving Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, national security adviser John Bolton, and others)
The controversial addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census
The Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban
The State Department’s decision to close its cyber office
The Environmental Protection Agency’s use of a political loyalty list
The possible participation of Cambridge Analytica’s foreign employees in US elections
The deadly ambush in Niger that left four American soldiers dead
The use of private email by White House officials
Trump’s response to the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico
The dealings of the Trump Foundation
Potential conflicts of interest between Kushner’s business actions and his policy advice
Payments the Trump Organization received from foreign sources
Russian intervention with state voting systems
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with foreign officials
Yesterday’s bomb threat showed yet again that Trump is the most prominent enabler of domestic terrorism in the US.
Under this presidency, racial dog whistles have been normalised. Even worse, white supremacist ideology has been validated, and Nazi protesters are regarded as “very fine people”. When Trump recently proclaimed he is a nationalist, which is understood as white nationalist – white supremacists such as former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke heralded the announcement. Trump’s Republican Party has undergone its full-scale descent into fascism, complete with Brownshirts such as the Proud Boys – a gang of Republican-affiliated street brawlers who thrive on toxic masculinity, Islamophobia and racial violence, and seek broader public acceptance at a time when their man is the most powerful person in America. This, as white nationalist hate group Identity Evropa plots its infiltration into the Republican Party to mainstream their white supremacy and ban nonwhite immigration.
Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Trump proudly says he is a “nationalist.”
He is, of course, saying this to shore up support among white nationalists. The Nazi sites on the web were all having wet dreams in the aftermath.
From the 1990s, polling has found that about 10% of Americans support far right militias. These are the white nationalists. Trump came to power by mobilizing that 10% and combining it with Republicans and independents.
It is not an accident that Benito Mussolini called his party “Nationalist Fascism.” The two go together. Trump performs the “fascist” part of this two-part term every time he does a rally, so he doesn’t have to say “I am a Nationalist Fascist,” i.e. a Mussolini-ist. But that is what he is.
what we have never had is a President of the United States who uses lying and untruth as a basic method to promote his policies, his beliefs, and his way of approaching the American people and engaging with the world, that his default position is to use untruth to go toward his objectives.
ON TUESDAY, Donald Trump made a bold declaration, declaring victory. Only two days later, that lie was proven deadly wrong.
That’s what US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday.
But fast forward to today and we hear reports that far from being defeated, Islamic State has this week captured 700 hostages and says it will kill 10 of them a day unless the group’s demands are met.
It’s understood that members of IS attacked a refugee camp last week, leading to the hostages being taken. Among them are Europeans and US citizens.
The source of Trump’s fortune was his father, who bailed out the son’s failing businesses many times, a bombshell New York Times investigation found.
Donald Trump has, for decades, attempted to portray himself as a self-made, up-by-your-bootstraps entrepreneur who benefited little from his father’s fortune, relying on his own gumption and wiles to overcome financial challenges.
But a bombshell investigation by The New York Times published Tuesday annihilated this claim
Fox’s Neil Cavuto praises Donald Trump’s reported tax scams as “pretty clever” because they “outdodged” the IRS
video October 2, 2018 5:22 PM EDT
video October 2, 2018 4:45 PM EDT
Fox host dismisses NY Times report that Trump committed “outright fraud” to obtain his wealth: “I don’t know if there’s a there there”
video October 2, 2018 4:31 PM EDT
Just 24 hours after caving to pressure from the Senate and requesting an FBI probe into the sexual assault allegations against his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump is reportedly already working to impose strict limitations on the scope of the investigation—a move that has been denounced as a flagrant attempt to further rig the process in Kavanaugh’s favor.
Former US president Barack Obama assailed President Donald Trump and Republicans on Friday, urging Democrats to restore a “semblance of sanity” to politics by voting in November’s elections.
What’s keeping most Germans from getting a good night’s sleep? A survey has found that beating international terrorism, illegal immigration, and economic worries is none other than the US president. Well, his policies at least.
Anti Trump Rally In Berlin © Omer Messinger/Global Look Press Trump v the world? Belligerent unilateralism turning US into ‘rogue state’, analysts tell RT
Asking a sample of 2,400 Germans between June 8 and July 18 of this year, the multiple choice questionnaire found that 69 percent of Germans deemed Trump’s policies and attitude to allies were having a dangerous impact across the globe
It looks like Donald Trump daily twitter rants, weekly rallies and unhinged interviews where he rants against the press, Robert Muller and the Special Counsel, Jeff Sessions and Democrats is falling flat with potential voters. A poll by ABC/Washington Post posted on Friday showed a marked drop in the polls for Trump – only 36% approve, while 60% disapprove! That is a shocking number.
In summary, none of these numbers are good for Trump. He is losing support of the Republican party across all areas and independents seem to be leaning more towards the Democrats. This is terrible news for him with under 70 days until the elections. But it is great news for the rest of us!
Australia cannot stay silent about Trump
Donald Trump is the present spokesman for this derangement, the fear’s instrument and its preposterous embodiment. Trump is a racist, an ignoramus, a huckster and a creep. The human face of our US ally is contemptuous of human rights, the free press and any democratic norm or diplomatic protocol that doesn’t suit him, or which he thinks can be trashed to his political advantage. In addition to the trade war he recently started, the US under Trump’s “America First” banner has handed China undreamed of high ground and momentous strategic gifts by retreating from its role as Asia’s security provider. The Trans Pacific Partnership on which Australian governments set so much store, Trump knocked on the head. He flirts with authoritarian thugs while attacking, mocking and undermining democratic allies and institutions of the so-called rules-based international order. He has demolished truth, or what was left of it. He may even be Vladimir Putin’s stooge.
Populist politicians have alleged that increased crime in Sweden is linked to migration. The Sweden Democrats, a far-right party with links to neo-Nazism, have suggested freezing out asylum seekers and reducing the country’s immigration budget.
But when it comes to intentionally setting fire to cars, said Manne Gerell, a lecturer in criminology at Malmo University, such incidents have increased “big-time” over the past couple decades — but not in the past two or so years.
Across Sweden, around 1500 cars are burned each year, he said. The reasons can range from insurance fraud or hiding other crimes to social unrest and “random youth vandalism.”
In early 2017, riots broke out in a largely immigrant suburb near Stockholm. As The Post reported then, the riots occurred “just two days after President [Donald] Trump provoked widespread consternation by seeming to imply, incorrectly, that immigrants had perpetrated a recent spate of violence in Sweden.”
Sweden is far from the only place where youth have set cars on fire. On recent New Year’s Eves in France, young people have torched hundreds of cars. During recent end-of-year celebrations, around 1000 cars were set on fire a number of years in a row.
This is the uneducated POTUS who leads a Radicalized and Terrorist Nation. Osama bin Laden was an educated man who resisted.Who will be remembered histotically as a “good man”? (ODT)
Mr Trump managed to dent his everyman status when he suggested that American grocery shoppers have to show ID to buy stuff.
In this he quickly joined several presidents of various stripes before him who have demonstrated that they have no idea how much a gallon of milk costs and have, indeed, rarely queued to buy tinned tomatoes and a loaf of bread.
“We believe that only American citizens should vote in American elections, which is why the time has come for voter ID like everything else,” he said.
“Voter ID. If you go out and you want to buy groceries you need a picture on a card, you need ID.
“You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID, and you need your picture.
“In this country, the only time you don’t need it in many cases is when you want to vote for a president, when you want to vote for a senator, when you want to vote for a governor or a congressman. It’s crazy.”
Anti-politics is most evident in his emphasis on deregulation. The deregulatory clock defines the Trump presidency. With other presidencies, legislation matters. With Trump, the repeal of legislation matters. It is not just the repeal of Obamacare. It is the repeal of many constraints on economic and social behaviour. The deregulation model is simple: not to make regulations more efficient, just take a sledgehammer to them.
Three revocations are illustrative. The repeal of a requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions; the repeal of an executive order protecting ocean, coastal and Great Lakes waters; and the revocation of flood standards for infrastructure projects. There have been more than seventy major environmental regulation rollbacks, and there will be more. It is the same for financial deregulation. The rollbacks of the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts are proceeding. Future risks are priced to zero; the lessons from previous crises forgotten. It is deregulation without foresight.
The irony of the Trump presidency is that he is pushing us towards self-regulation when he has never regulated himself. He has failed to honour commitments to employees, to contractors, to students, to tenants, to other taxpayers and to the truth. He has failed to regulate himself. It is failure against which we should regulate.
The young ruler took a radically different path to his father, one that earned him the opportunity to outsmart Donald Trump
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US president Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meeting in Singapore.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US president Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meeting in Singapore. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP
Kim Jong-un was never destined to rule North Korea. It was never preordained he would be the one to accelerate the isolated nation’s nuclear weapons program, and force the US president, Donald Trump, to sit down for a meeting of equals.
Donald Trump shrugs off Kim’s human rights record: ‘He’s a tough guy’
But through a combination of ruthless ambition and luck, Kim achieved what no other leader of North Korea has, recognition as the head of a nuclear power and international statesman. The boy dictator went head-to-head with Trump and won.
“More than 40% of the minors arrested were taken from home in the middle of the night, after being woken up.In some cases, the arrest is carried out quietly: soldiers knock on the door, wait for it to be opened, ask a few questions, tell the parents to wake up their son, and allow him to get dressed.”
It continues, after noting the terror this procedure strikes in the hearts of these ordinary Palestinians,
“With rare exceptions, the soldiers handcuff the minors as soon as they arrest them, or immediately after leaving the home. The reports indicate that in about 80% of the cases, the soldiers also blindfold the minors. In this state, the minors are then transported . . . Many of the minors reported that during transit, soldiers swore at them,
threatened them and even beat them.”
The Israeli army takes away the children, sometimes in the dark of night, without informing the parents of the minors.
“What the world needs is less nationalism and more internationalism.”
North Korean Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol met with President Donald Trump at the White House this week. As part of its efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the Trump administration is conducting negotiations with one of the world’s most brutal regimes. Human Rights Watch has described North Korea’s political prison camps as “the modern day equivalent of the Russian Gulag where prisoners are starved, beaten, tortured and worked to death.” North Korean guards club starving children to death for stealing rice, a UN report explained. Mothers have reportedly been required to observe the infanticide of their newborn babies as a form of punishment.
Despite these ongoing, egregious human rights violations, the White House is pursuing talks with Pyongyang to further U.S. interests. Washington’s engagement with Kim Jong Un makes its policy of refusing to speak with the Palestinian leadership in Gaza even more confounding. While Hamas has carried out horrific attacks, it would be hard to argue that the Islamist group’s actions, especially those in the past year, are more abhorrent than those of North Korea. If advancing U.S. interests is enough of a reason to negotiate with North Korea despite the government’s egregious human rights record, then the same logic must be considered with Hamas.
Members of the Coeur d’Alene, or Schitsu’umsh, Tribe on the Desmet Reservation in Idaho circa 1907. (Wikimedia Commons)
This knowledge seems rudimentary, and yet it’s not: The same ships that transported the “American dream” from 15th century Europe likewise delivered a nightmare to indigenous lands now known as America—a nightmare that would persist for centuries for millions of indigenous people, African slaves and their many descendants. But it was far beyond a nightmare. It all was callously and painfully real.
This knowledge also seems rudimentary, and yet it’s not: Indigenous communities today bear the stubborn scars and residual societal ills stemming directly from colonization: being dehumanized, disenfranchised and imprisoned in our own lands, confined to desolate reservations, and brutally ripped from the lifeways and teachings that sustained us for millennia.
Palestine has submitted a formal referral to the International Criminal Court in the Hague over Israeli sniping with live fire at peaceful Gaza protesters this spring, which killed some 60 persons and literally wounded thousands.
Palestine, which is a cautious and timid government, had earlier declined to go to the ICC, in hopes instead of reaching a negotiated settlement. The Trump decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, however, forestalled a negotiated settlement on that issue. Israel’s illegal flooding of its citizens onto Palestinian property in the West Bank and refusal to negotiate any freeze in squatter settlements has also convinced Palestine that the US-Israeli “peace process” is a cover for slow genocide. Ironically, it was Trump’s lack of diplomatic grace that in large part impelled this step.
Days after the Parkland shooting, Trump said that elected officials should be ready to “fight” the powerful NRA lobby group. Early this month he embraced that group, telling its annual meeting in Dallas “your Second Amendment rights are under siege” and, as long as he was President, their guns would never be taken away.
Israel has made many such changes to Occupied Territories. For example, the Golan Heights still belongs to Syria despite the many illegal settlements built there, however much stolen oil is extracted there, or however many field hospitals for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Qaeda fighters Israel erects there. That like Jerusalem, the Golan has been illegally annexed makes no difference at all in law nor to every other government in the world. Except Trump’s government.
Donald Trump’s trashing of the Iran nuclear deal this week was not just an attack on Iranian sovereign interests. The US president was also poking European allies in the eye.
How obscenely ironic. Embassies traditionally symbolize diplomacy and peace. The opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem was occasioned by a grotesque baptism of murder of Palestinians, heralding wider war in the Middle East.
Donald Trump thrives on chaos, and where it does not already exist he seeks ways to create it.
It seems he believes chaos will throw up unexpected opportunities where more considered and cautious approaches have produced nothing but a logjam.
Certainly the Middle East looks like a series of immense logjams. Others, such as Mr Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, may prefer to loosen them with a crowbar after weighing carefully the likely consequences; Mr Trump reaches for the dynamite.
Negotiated in July 2015, the deal, officially dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, stipulated that Iran rid itself of nuclear fuel if the United States waived sanctions that had been crippling the nation’s economy. As part of the deal, a UN nuclear agency would monitor Iran’s fidelity to the agreement and, thus far, the agency has determined that Iran has complied. After 10 years, restrictions on research and development would lighten, and after 15 years, Iran would be able to produce nuclear fuel, but not in service of a weapons program. Along with the lack of a provision preventing Iran from testing ballistic missiles, this “sunset clause” has been pointed to by Trump as one of the principle reasons the deal is a “disaster.”
Here are three immediate takeaways from Trump’s decision today.
1. Iran is now free to build a nuclear bomb
2. Trump’s decision will likely alienate allies
3. The abandonment may hinder an impending deal with North Korea
Making policy by destroying the reputations of middle management in the government is of course highly destructive to the democratic process.
Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker now reports that the Trump aides who targeted former Obama administration officials Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl used the Israeli Black Cube agency, the same one deployed by Harvey Weinstein to keep his many victims of sexual harassment in line. It advertises itself as being able to provide the best former Mossad agents for the job (but if they are the best why are they former?)
I mind this behavior quite a lot and fear it won’t get the traction it deserves among the press and the public.